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Re: Why the Bird Matters (was: Ceratosauria vs Neotetanurae)

On Sun, Nov 22, 2009 at 6:11 AM, Jaime Headden <qi_leong@hotmail.com> wrote:
> Â Second, *Vultur gryphus* ... is restricted in its availability for study as 
> an exemplar for anatomical works (and may further me limited only to existing 
> museum specimens if it declines toward extinction).

This is true.

> Â Thirdly, generally more abundant, widespread or anatomically normative 
> (baseline?) taxa may be more preferrable especially as conceptually 
> representative of the term "bird."

Whoa, whoa! I wasn't talking about the term "bird" at all. I was
talking about "Aves". While both terms refer to the same extant
content, they arguably have different archetypes. In this way, "Aves"
is perhaps better translated as "fowl".

> Mike suggested *Tinamus major* (Gmelin, 1789) but one tends to be wary of the 
> apparent trend towards flightlessness in said taxon.

This one doesn't think that's a huge problem; however, the fact that
it wasn't listed in the original usage is a strike against it.

Actually, if you want a species that:
1) is widespread
2) is well-studied
3) is archetypal of terms like "Aves" and "fowl"
4) was mentioned by Linnaeus (1758)

...then you could hardly do better than Gallus gallus (=Phasianus
gallus L. 1758).
T. Michael Keesey
Technical Consultant and Developer, Internet Technologies
Glendale, California